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TAMPA — The movie director best known for The Blair Witch Project hoped to start shooting the second episode of his Tampa web series next month.
Instead, Dan Myrick is self-isolating at his home in Bainbridge Island, Wash., to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.
But he has a message for those who depend on his Tampa-based production company for work: “I will return."
To fight the spread of coronavirus, the Hillsborough County Film Commission has suspended all production in public spaces. That includes the web series that Myrick’s Tampa-based Power Station production company was shooting.
Titled Black Veil, it will consist of six 15-minute episodes featuring Southern gothic-themed horror stories. Each will work is a standalone tale but they can also connect into one 90-minute story.
The first episode was shot in January in Plant City and employed 40 people.
“The plan was to write and shoot one, write and shoot one, and so on,” Myrick said. “Now, we’ll just write them all and then bunch them together in the summer or fall.”
That is welcome news for Tyler Martinolich, Hillsborough’s film commissioner.
“Dan’s commitment to the bay area is appreciated and I hope provides a bit of hope for local filmmakers who are struggling," Martinolich said. "I’m confident our market will bounce back.”
The coronavirus also robbed Myrick of two Florida screenings of his movie Skyman, partially shot in Tampa. It is about a man who believes he experienced an alien encounter at age 10 and tries to reconnect with the UFO at the same location.
It was supposed to show at the Gasparilla International Film Festival and Sarasota Film Festival but both were postponed because of the coronavirus.
“It is is a real bummer for me,” Myrick said. “We had a lot of plans and it was a hometown screening. But I’m not going to mourn that. It’s just a movie.”
Meantime, he is self-isolating with his wife, two kids and 80-year-old mother.
“It is starting to settle in with us that next month will be a different world if we can’t get this controlled," he said. "People have hunkered down here and accepted that.”
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